- To Save A Kingdom -

By: Jade & TK Styles

Pronouncements: (for all of those who care) are as such:

Characters

Amalia ~ (a - mal - lee -a)

Javlad ~ (jaa - vlad) ~ Guard Captain of the Eastern Squadron

Seban (sa - ban) ~ High King

Sydrain (sigh - dry - an) ~ Heir Prince

Frostin (frost - in) ~ Chief Advisor of the King

Lor (l - or) ~ Guard and son of Ashena

Ashena (ash - ean - a) ~ Lor's mother and former lady in waiting of the departed Queen

Maldiva (mal - dive - a) ~ Professional Thief / Assassin

Warnic (war - nick) ~ Entrepreneur

Gayla (gay - laa) ~ Warnic's Horse

Sawshi ~ (saw - she) ~ Maldiva's horse

Places

The Golden Amarra (a - mare - ra) ~ a common tavern in Trulock

Trulock (true - lock) ~ capital city

Mormile (more - mile) ~ sleazy, dirty, rough town two days ride away from Trulock

Marsona Training Camp (mar - zone - a) ~ the main training barracks of new recruits/half a days ride from Trulock

~*~

Chapter 13: Of Listening and Finding Purpose

To change your mind and to follow him who sets you right is to be nonetheless the free agent that you were before.

~ Marcus Aurelius

Amalia was healing much slower then she would have liked. It had taken four days alone for her to rise from her bed under her own power and after only five minutes she had been ready to collapse again in utter exhaustion. She was finding her own frustrations mounting and the stoic nature of her silent, sole companion did little to alleviate the tensions.

After their introductions Warnic had spoken little and tended to watch her more then anything else. Amalia had brain stormed relentlessly on ways to get him to reveal more about either himself or the job he was currently working on but he remained irritatingly tight lipped on all subjects.

It was on the sixth morning that a chance arose to learn more of her companion. A slight sense of guilt tinged her consciousness as the method of acquiring this information was perhaps morally underhanded but in the end her insatiable curiosity won out and she put her practice into motion. She had discovered early on that a small string of people would come in the early hours of dawn or in the dead of night and talk to Warnic in hushed voices and she was now determined to overhear what was being said. So that night instead of falling asleep in the bed she pretended to drift off in one of the sitting chairs near to the doorway and began her wait.

When golden rays of sunlight lapped lazily into the room though the cracked wooden wall of the house a small and tentative knock sounded on the door. Amalia had to fight to remain relaxed as though she slept but her heart started to beat faster with anticipation and she began to strain her ears.

She did not hear Warnic go to the door but the slight creak betrayed the door being opened nonetheless.

"Sillsian. You have something for me?" Warnic's soft voice said into the silence.

"Yes, yes! Good news that help you! About the dark girl." said a high-pitched voice of what sounded like an overexcited young girl.

"Yes, that's right child, the dark girl. What have you heard or seen of her?"

"She come! She come! With the darkness! On black horse with golden angel!" the child squeaked excitedly. Apparently this statement confused Warnic as much as it did Amalia herself for he calmly said,

"What golden angel, sweetie?"

"The one who slept and shone like sunlight in the night! An angel!" came the buoyant answer.

"There was someone else with her. Another woman?"

"No! A boy." there was a silence that followed this declaration and Amalia had the feeling that something important had been said but she knew not what and before she could think better of it she opened her eyes to see what was happening. The first thing she saw was Warnic's grey eyes drilling into her own.

"So you are awake are you?" was all he said before looking back at the street child who had greasy hair and dirty cloths. Amalia guessed her to be around eight years old.

"So this angel and the dark girl, where did they go?" he prodded gently

"The big buildings in the Strolin's district," came the prompt answer. "They go into the black building that's unsafe. You know, you know?"

"Yes, I know which one you speak of. Here, for bringing me this information, which is very valuable, take this," and Warnic dropped several large gold coins into the girls outstretched hand. "Hide them well though so no one will take them from you."

The child bobbed her head excitedly before dashing out into the morning air once again. Warnic sighed and turned back to look at Amalia who stared back at him unabashedly.

"I had thought that it did not look like you slept but put the act of such dishonesty beyond you girl."

"Do not treat me as a child. I want to help you and you were less then forthcoming with how I should go about doing that so I discovered what I needed to know on my own. Now that I have heard will you at least explain it?"

Warnic scowled and muttered under his breath, "This was bigger then I at first thought it was going to be. I did not realise the stakes involved and I admit I did little to discover them. When my friend approached me and asked me to protect a young woman I thought little of it but now..." he trailed off in thought.

"Warnic, please, what does that mean?"

"Two days ago Prince Sydrain was kidnapped."

"That is awful. What does this have to do with the young lady you are suppose to be protecting? You answer my questions with more questions! Please Warnic help me understand."

"Amalia," he stated firmly using her name for the first time since she had told him it, "stay clear of this business. It is dangerous and you know nothing of this world. You can do nothing to help me in this and I would not see you injured or killed trying to do something heroic and rash. Mark me on this and do not disobey."

"Who are you to order me thus!?" Amalia stated just as cooly as she rose from her seated position. "I admit I am in your debt and for that I thank you but do not assume liberties over me that you do not have."

"I merely seek to caution you. This situation goes beyond anything you can control so steer away from it."

Amalia stared at Warnic for a long moment as memories came rushing back to her... Blood, terror and fire... I am not a fighter. This situation goes beyond anything I can control... Fleeing the destruction. Running away. Steering clear... Not again. Never again would she run away.

Carefully composing herself before Warnic could see how much his words affected her she forced a smile onto her face, "Thank-you for your warning. I shall do my best to remember it."

"Child, please, I would not see you injured." he tried with one final attempt at reasoning.

Amalia felt her heart soften when she detected real concern behind those words and she said as reassuringly as possible, "I know Warnic and whatever happens I want to thank you for all you have done. I owe you much."

Warnic shook his head sadly, "I am getting too old," he mutter dryly.

~*~

Another chapter done. It always feels so good for me as a writer when I hit this point. But that is a side note. The important thing is to thank you guys for reviewing the last chapter!! SIX whole reviews for one section! How exciting is that!

Carter Tachikawa ~ Two exams too go and by the time I post this there will most likely only be one which is Chemistry. As for going well... well, I guess I won't know until I get the marks back. I just want to pass all my courses. Thanks for caring though, it is sweet and I hope you don't mind me unloading all my stress in my comments to you, lol.

TK Styles ~ We are going to have to arrange a meeting time again because I have forgotten everything we discussed on Monday, lol. My head seems incapable of retaining any information for any length of time at the moment. I feel scatter brained!! Glad you liked the last chapter as much as I did!

LafiTafi ~ I am so flattered that you are sneaking on line at school to keep up with reviewing me. I am sorry you have lost the internet once again, *sigh*, I cannot even begin to imagine what that must be like. I hope your marks go up again soon because you are sorely missed when you are gone. Any review by you is good and I am glad you enjoyed this chapter to the point of ROTFLMAO. I don't think I have ever made a reader do that before so it is a first for me! I am really impressed with the amount of thought you are giving this mystery. Go you! You are going to have this solved before I do, lol. Keep in touch!

Purple Colored Auora Petals ~ Sydrain does have a lot of growing up too do but in his defence he does have some really bad roll models. Personally I think Maldiva is a good thing for him. I like her as a character too. She is my feminist, girls are just as capable and self reliant as boys, character so I think all my female readers will connect to her and I think all readers in general will thank her for humiliating Sydrain and hitting him over the back of the head a few times, lol.

Juniper Dreams ~ Welcome back! I am glad you are still interested in seeing how this story is going to finish! I appreciate every review! I am glad someone else feels a bit bad for Sydrain because I don't imagine it is easy to be kidnapped.

James Rain ~ What can I say. If you want a powerful quote there is always something Shakespearian that can be used. I love reading his sonnets. I have a whole english folder full of them and that one just stood out to me and seemed perfect given what was happening in the story. So if you are back online does that mean you have posted new chapters? I will have to go check once I am finished writing this reply.

Sorry it took me so long to post this next chapter guys & girls but exams have kept me studying hard! My final exam is tomorrow (Chemistry) and then I start travelling home so you might now hear from me in a while as I won't have internet. So happy holidays all and late next week I will try to post the next chapter whose preview is this:

Chapter 14: Treason, Betrayal and Murder

However many ways there may be of being alive, it is certain that there are vastly more ways of being dead.

~ Richard Dawkins